Since prospectors first discovered gold, less than a century and a half ago, Colorado has been transformed from a few frontier mining communities to a modern state of major economic significance to the nation. The mining booms beginning in the late 1850s spurred Colorado’s initial growth. The state’s economy broadened when irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century livestock raising had become important on the plains of the eastern part of the state. Early industrial growth was based on the processing of minerals and agricultural products. In the second half of the 20th century the industrial and service sectors have expanded greatly. World-class winter resorts and expansive summer recreational opportunities draw tourists year-round. The state’s economy is now diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research and high-technology industries. Denver is an important financial center.
Colorado had a work force of 2,596,000 in 2008. Of those the largest share, 37 percent, worked in the diverse service industry, doing such jobs as working in restaurants or programming computers. Another 19 percent were employed in wholesale or retail trade; 16 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 22 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 6 percent in manufacturing; 7 percent in construction; 18 percent in transportation or public utilities; 2 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing; and 1 percent in mining. The number of people working in mining fell by nearly one-half between the early 1980s and early 1990s; meanwhile employment in services increased by three-fifths. In 2007, 9 percent of Colorado’s workers were unionized. "Colorado" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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